White House Announces Immigration Reform Plan

At a glance

  • President Trump presented the broad outlines of a reform proposal that would include reductions in family-based immigration, replacement of the current permanent residence system with a points-based program, and greater border security measures. The proposal would not change the U.S. green card quota.
  • The reform plan is in the preliminary stages only. The White House is reportedly drafting a bill that could be introduced in Congress, but the legislative path for such a measure is not clear.

A closer look

President Trump today announced a high-level plan to reform the U.S. immigration system, featuring reduced family-based migration, restrictions on asylum, more border security measures and replacement of the employment-based green card system with a points system modeled on similar Australian and Canadian immigration programs. 

Though specific details of the plan have not been disclosed, President Trump sketched out a merit-based system that would assess permanent residence applicants on the basis of criteria that include age, skills, education level, offer of employment, job creation potential and wage level. Applicants would also be required to demonstrate financial self-sufficiency, have English-language proficiency and pass a civics exam. The President did not address temporary immigration programs.

The plan described by President Trump resembles the RAISE Act, a merit-based immigration proposal first introduced in 2017 by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK) and David Perdue (R-GA).  A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in April of this year.

What the plan means for employers and foreign nationals

President Trump’s announcement is a preliminary step toward immigration reform discussions. The White House is reportedly drafting a bill for possible introduction to Congress, though neither the timing of such a measure nor its legislative path is clear.

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